Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bach Festival!

I think that I have shared some time ago that I am a huge fan of classical music. Above all composers for me though, Bach reigns supreme. I am so fortunate because every July we have the Carmel Bach Festival, which draws musicians from all over the world to perform. They are the best of the best.

A few of weeks ago, my friend got two tickets to today's performance of Bach's "Johannes" or St. John's Passion (BWV 245). Apparently, this was the hottest ticket in town, because it was totally sold out and people were trying very hard to get to tickets. I have to say this was the most amazing and remarkable performance I have ever been to. ( And I have seen some great concerts.)

St. John's Passion is a lot more emotionally raw than St. Matthew's Passion. This performance was remarkable in that it featured the orchestra and chorale in street clothes to give the feeling of a crowd. In addition, the Bach Youth Chorus was stationed in the front two rows of the balcony, so the audience had the feeling of being amid the crowd. We were surrounded by the voices. (We had great seats on the lower level.) The singers acted out some of the movements, which really brought more meaning. In addition, the English translation of the piece was on a screen above the stage.

It was so amazing that at several points I would gasp because I found myself holding my breath. I also found myself in tears. It was just so beautiful.

What made this even more poignant for me was that this piece was based on Martin Luther's interpretation of St. John's Gospel. As a practicing Lutheran, I heard bits and pieces of our liturgy and one of our hymns in the piece. It was intentionally interspersed with old Lutheran chorales by Bach. (Bach was a Lutheran, an organist and cantor in the Lutheran church.)

Johannes-passion was about 2 1/2 hours long, but I had no sense of time. It felt like it was over so soon. My friend and I both said that we were both emotionally wrought afterward. It was so beautiful. I do not think I will forget this performance as long as I live. The musicians were so absolutely amazing. It was remarkable.

Bach totally rocks!


Beth said...

So glad you had that opportunity!!

Raven/Missy said...

This sounds totally fantastic! What a wonderful experience. I love when music moves a person so deeply. I am glad you enjoyed it so much. :)